Blog Archives

Unbelievable: AT&T Buys A Smaller Carrier, Gets Bigger

In a move that is nothing short of unprecedented, unbelievable, and shocking, a large wireless carrier is purchasing a smaller wireless carrier. Said Gandalf the Grey on the issue: “Something is about to happen that has not happened in an age.” Whispers and legends have been told of such mergers of the gods, but none have ever been seen by the likes of man.

We talked to a Verizon CEO who had this to say:

“We’ve just never seen something like this happen before. It changes everything, really. We need to discuss it with the board of directors, but we may simply close up shop and let all of our customers know they should just head to AT&T. Unless we can find a strategy to fight this, we won’t have much choice. And, though I hate to be premature, I don’t think we will.”

AllTel, who was also on the phone, seconded Verizon’s feelings on the matter.

Meanwhile, Sprint was a little more optimistic:

We’re excited about the possibilities of this upcoming acquisition. Up until this point, we were able to tell our customers that, while we may not be as big as Verizon or AT&T, we’re still the third best and head and shoulders above T-Mobile, the only other national carrier worth mentioning. Now we don’t have that. We are the bottom rung. We’re excited to see how this is going to light a fire under our feet. We look forward to pushing forward with all the forward momentum we can move forward.

Nextel merely stood in the corner and shook its head.

One thing is clear, though. This move will change the industry forever. In what is surely a never-before-experienced-phenomenon, AT&T will become the largest telecom in a particular field. The implications of this alone are so far reaching that the U.S. market may never be the same. Said one Cingular AT&T executive on the subject:

It’s a little overwhelming, going from being the underdog to being the top of your field. It’s like “Whoa, just last year, no one listened to anything I say, and now everyone wants to know what we’re gonna do next. We’re the center of attention, and not only that, for the first time we actually have money to do all the cool and exciting things that you don’t get to do when you’re building cell phone towers in your garage. It’s a really exciting time and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.

For our parts, we at AD were surprised when the executive used the words “like” and “whoa”, though we probably shouldn’t be. It seems to be a trend of all the hip, up-and-coming, boy-wonder CEOs to continue to speak in the layman, even in official statements.

And, of course, the question on everyone’s mind is how will this affect the iPhone. Will future versions of the iPhone be available to what are currently T-Mobile customers? We reached out to Steve Jobs for comment. He punched us in the stomach and charged us $300 for the privilege. We happily paid, as it was the most intuitive, user-friendly beating we’d ever received.

HTC Thunderbolt Released Just In Time To Be Several Months Too Late

The HTC Thunderbolt is a pretty phone. Very pretty. It’s got a gorgeous 4.3 inch screen, a front-facing camera, 4G data, even a kickstand. A kickstand! Clearly this phone is trying to make a statement! And what statement is that?

“I wish I was an Evo.”

To continue Verizon’s parade of getting other carriers’ phones, they’ve now added the HTC Evo Thunderbolt to their lineup, giving it a modest spec boost and a generous launch delay. Nine months after the release of the Evo, and five days before we’re expected to hear about the Evo’s successor.

This phone has actually been leaking since August of last year. So long ago that, when HTC began (intentionally?) leaking shots of the device in December, Gizmodo didn’t even realize they covered it already. And really, who can blame them?

In any case, if you’re interested in getting the finest device that the Summer of 2010 has to offer, look no further than the HTC Thunderbolt.

T-Mobile, Sprint May Merge To Become Super, Ultra, Third Wheel

There’s a little over 300 million people in the United States, and roughly 200 million of them are either subscribed to AT&T or Verizon. That leaves the remaining third of the country as scraps for Sprint, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, and all of the other wireless carriers in the country to munch on under the table. Sprint and T-Mo make up the Abed and Troy of the big four: important enough to get their own storylines, but they’re still not the stars of this show.

However, even the Joey of this carrier drama might be able to get its own spinoff if rumors are to be believed. While it’s not clear yet whether T-Mobile USA will be moving to Hollywood, or just buying up spectrum from Central Perk*, but whatever the case, both companies are looking at various ideas for a joint venture.

The news is exciting to say the least. As exciting as when the Power Rangers teamed up with the Ninja Turtles. Or when Leonard and Penny got together for a while. Which is to say that it has the potential to get our hopes up before ultimately bringing them crashing down in a fiery plane wreck into a children’s hospital.

Or it could be cool. I mean, who knows.

 

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*- I’m bad at analogies.

Record Number Of People Don’t Know When To Buy An iPhone

On February 4th at 4am, the Verizon iPhone 4 missed its opportunity to do one of those annoying triple-number advertising gimmicks, completely ignoring the obvious “4 on 4 at 4” slogan. Instead, pre-orders for the Verizon iPhone 4 began on February 3rd at 3am. They then closed pre-orders at 5am, intentionally denying the number 4 any chance for an amusing coincidence.

The number that did get some attention? “A lot.” That’s how many iPhone 4 pre-orders were sold in the two twilight (no relation) hours that pre-orders were available. In fact, the pre-orders were sold out. That is, every single possible pre-order available, for a phone that has been out for seven months, will be refreshed in another five, yet cannot be upgraded for another two years once purchased sold out.

If you’re unfamiliar with the upgrade cycle of iPhones, it’s once every year. Like Christmas in June. Literally. Every June, an allegedly jolly old man with a white beard comes out and gives presents to a select group of good people, while everyone else gets the HTC Coal running Android. It’s as dependable and predictable as Santa. But apparently not quite as well known, since a record number of people-more than Verizon has seen for any launch day ever-decided that five months is too long to wait to get the next version of the phone that will likely have better hardware, better software, and better pixie dust than the iPhone 4.

On the upside, that’s five months that they’ll be able to make phone calls with an iPhone.

Verizon Fires UI Designer, Sticks An Ugly Remote Control On Your iPad

I do not have cable. I do not have a DVR. I do not have satellite. I have an internet connection and a computer. I also do not have a remote control. No device I use has an IR sensor. I have a smartphone and WiFi router. I am able to perform all of the basic TV-viewing tasks, such as watch TV shows, pause or mute playback from across the room, and lose my smartphone remote somewhere underneath my butt as I shift around on the couch. It’s a good life.

And one of the things I miss the least from my old, former life-the one where I was stuck with a CRT television, cable, and a dinky plastic remote control-is the horrible hodge podge of buttons and cryptic labels smushed on to an oddly-shaped “ergonomic” remote control. Verizon has thus seen fit  to take the old remote I’m not using and shove it into their iPad app.

You see, the beauty of a touchscreen device is that the interface can be programmed to be just about anything. A grid of buttons. A map. An escher drawing. The latter obviously being the inspiration for most remote control designs. And if you’re one of those pervy masochists who loves the pain of taking a ten-week training course to use a remote control, yet hates the idea of holding stuff*, this iPad app is for you.

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*- Stuff  that isn’t an iPad

Samsung Releases Continuum, Misses Every Single Point

Samsung held a press conference today. The totally uber-secret subject? The new Verizon Continuum! Why it’s going to be fantastic! Wonderful! Or something!

In all frankness, I don’t think I’ve seen a laundry list of Stuff Wrong With A Phone this long since the Backflip. Alphabetically:

Bing: I’m curious if Samsung has seen the numbers from their Galaxy S phones in a specific light, but from where I’m sitting, the Fascinate, the one Galaxy S phone that doesn’t come with Google preloaded as the default search engine, was widely regarded as the suckiest Galaxy S phone. Samsung responded to public outcry with the response that you would be able to reset Google as the default search engine with the advent of Froyo. Like a child without his security blanket for the first time, Samsung just couldn’t leave that sans-Google-handset hole empty for long.

Eclair: Word on the street is that Samsung is working on the nigh-legendary Nexus Two which is said to be the flagship device for Gingerbread as the N1 was for Eclair (and to a lesser extent, Froyo). Needless to say, when Samsung set aside a date solely for a new Android device, and so shortly after the Gingerbread man showed up at Google HQ (usually an unmistakable sign of a new Android version), it was widely expected that this phone would bring some Gingerbread-y goodness. Or at the very least, whatever it was would ship with Froyo. Something the Galaxy S line has been lacking. No. You will have an Eclair and you will like it!

Second Screen: One has to wonder why, if it’s not the mythical Nexus Two, Samsung decided to host a special event just for this phone. Well, it turns out, this is a unique phone. It has a special addition that no other phone before it has had. A second little screen! You know, for notifications and stuff. And as we all know, if there’s one thing that Android sucks at, if there’s one thing that Android could use a second screen to help fix, it’s their notification management syst-oh. No. Wait. That’s entirely false. This little screen is all but pointless. Well, unless you like to idly check stock prices while you’re watching a full-screen movie on your device. And if that’s the kind of usage you want from your device, boy have you come to the right place, because the 3.4″ screen (smaller than the Evo, smaller than all other Galaxy S phones, smaller than the bloody iPhone for chrissakes) is the perfect size for squinting at movies while squinting harder at text!

Vanity: The biggest problem with the Continuum? It gets its own event. Why. No, there’s not a question mark at the end of that sentence. That implies there’s an answer. There is no good answer for why this average-specced, Bing-ed up, miniscule, outdated, mutant clusterf!#k of a device got it’s own special media event for its announcement.

Interestingly enough, the Continuum was accidentally revealed via the company’s official Twitter channel just prior to the event’s beginning. Much more fitting. Too bad they’d already paid the deposit on the caterer.